Predictions for trends over the next couple of years in the hotel and hospitality sector abound. But there is general consensus that technology will continue to play a greater role in both the stay of a guest as well as the booking process itself.
Virtual tour photography has an essential part to play here, enhancing the anticipatory experience of the traveller in advance of their stay, as well quickly and easily answering guest’s questions and concerns about location, layout and facilities.
So just how exactly can virtual tour photography enhance the guest experience? And what value can it add to your website?
Andrew Dalby, founder and managing director of leading hospitality photographers, ACT Studios, investigates.
Virtual tour photography is essentially an immersive, three dimensional digital means of bringing a room to life for the viewer.
3d tours are created using a special type of Matterport camera, which produces a 360 degree image of a room, which users can then browse online at their leisure.
Users simply click on the image itself to then ‘step in’ to the picture, with the option to turn in any direction to explore a feature in more detail.
Want to view the room from the other side of the bed? Easy. Using your mouse (or a touch screen) you can simply click (or tap) on the picture and spin the view in a direction to suit you.
Fancy a peek in the bathroom? Maybe to check if it has a walk in shower? Again, just click or tap on the direction you would like to take.
3D photography even lets you leave the room to explore different rooms on another floor. And essentially look round the whole property.
Which can be really helpful if you need to check if the bedroom is on the ground floor. Or see if the bathroom has a shower over it. Or where your nearest fire exit is.
The real beauty of 3D virtual tours is that they are incredibly simple to use. And extremely intuitive.
So how exactly can the application of virtual tour photography help the hotel industry?
Positive feedback and ratings count and anything that helps improve the customer journey for a guest deserves serious thought.
And when it comes to the hotel guest’s customer journey, 3D photography can play a pivotal role in the consideration phase.
Once a customer is aware that you exist – perhaps via a touch point such as a post on social media or an article in a third party publication – the next phase in the customer journey is consideration.
This is when they arrive at your website and look through it in detail before deciding to make a purchase.
It is well known how financially competitive the hospitality industry is and not every accommodation provider wishes to differentiate on price.
Therefore, having the ability to see a building in all its dimensions – from a floor plan, to a dollhouse view to stepping into any of the key rooms – can positively influence their decision to buy in your favour. And most importantly, take them away from your competitors.
“The quality of the imagery is second to none.” Mario Ovsenjak. General Manager, Hotel Gotham.
Guests have long come to expect well composed, professionally taken, high resolution photography when it comes to browsing both on and offline.
Which is why the supply of high quality hospitality photography remains a core service for ACT Studios, taking us throughout the UK and Europe to photograph some of the most incredible accommodation providers.
But brands that already have great photography are rightly asking “what’s next?” when it comes to updating their brand image, differentiating their offering and setting themselves apart from the competition.
The answer is 3d photography. Offering guests the ability to virtually ‘step into’ a hotel bedroom, dining room or lounge. To explore an area in minute detail. Or just get an overall feel for what they are about to book.
You might be aware of recent research that shows that having at least one photo of your property on a property page actually increases the likelihood of a booking inquiry by 225%.
And that for properties with at least 100 photos, engagement levels rise to 151% and likelihood of a booking inquiry rises to 238% compared to properties with no photos (Source).
But did you know that adding a fully immersive experience by adding virtual tour photography can increase occupancy by 14% and yield a 15% increase in online engagement? (Source).
By offering guests the option of seeing and freely exploring a given room or area in its entirety before they buy, guests can more easily and more quickly judge for themselves how suitable (or not) a hotel is for them.
There is therefore genuine honestly in a 3d virtual tour. And as marketers know, honesty breeds trust. Which then sees guests returning time after time.
If you would like to find out more about how 3D photography can work alongside your existing photography – or perhaps how you can refresh both your still photography and your virtual tours, to produce a more consistent brand image – then please get in touch.
We will find out more about your specific requirements as well as advising you on how to make the best out of a shoot, including dressing your rooms and showcasing local produce and talent.
On the day, our team of expert photographers will work closely with your staff to ensure we capture the very best imagery to support your storytelling and make your venue stand out from the rest. All with the least amount of interruption possible to your guests.
We will then pass your image files to our post production team, who will expertly edit both the photographs and virtual tours, before helping you with any aspect of uploading them to your website.
If there is any aspect of hotel and hospitality that you would like to chat through with us, please give us a call on 0845 8621661.
Alternatively, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our small and friendly team are always on hand to answer any of your questions or help take a booking for a photography shoot.
Call us to find out more about how 360 photography
can enhance the guest experience,
increase occupancy and add value to your website.